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She is celebrated on the anniversary of the day she gave a piano recital at Queens Small Hall, London’s principal concert venue before the war, in 1911.
Amanda Aldrige was born in 1866 in London. Her father was Ira Aldrige, a Black American Shakespearean actor who was famous for his portrayal of Othello, and her mother was Amanda von Brandt, a Swedish countess.
Her sister was Luranah Aldridge, an opera singer known for unofficially breaking the colour barrister for black opera singers.
Aldrige studied at London’s Royal Conservatory of Music under Swedish soprano Jenny Lind. She wanted to pursue a career as a vocalist, but suffered a throat injury and went on to become a vocal teacher, pianist, and composer instead.
She was inspired by a variety of musical genres as well as poetry by Black American poets, and used these influences to create romantic Parlour music.
Her most famous piece, composed in 1913, was Three African Dances, which was inspired by West African drumming. Aldrige released more than thirty songs, as well as dozens of instrumental tracks, under the pseudonym Montague Ring.
She released over thirty songs and dozens of instrumental tracks under the pseudonym Montague Ring.
As well as working as a composer, Aldrige taught Paul Robeson, a civil rights activist, and Marian Anderson, an American opera singer.
Aldrige continued to compose songs and orchestral pieces into old age. She died in 1956, aged 89, a day before her 90th birthday.